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Conservation status: Amber

The house martin is a small bird with glossy blue-black upper parts and pure white under parts. It has a distinctive white rump with a forked tail and, on close inspection, white feathers covering its legs and toes. It spends much of its time on the wing collecting insect prey. The bird's mud nest is usually sites below the eaves of buildings. They are summer migrants and spend their winters in Africa. Although still numerous and widespread, recent moderate declines earn them a place on the Amber List.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Delichon urbica

Family

Swallows and martins (Hirundinidae)

Where to see them

Across UK, although scarce in far N and W of Scotland. Mostly associated with man, found around towns and villages. Feeds on aerial insects and so is most frequently seen in areas of mixed agriculture, near water and in the vicinity of woodland.

When to see them

They return to the UK in April, often feeding over wetlands for a while before returning to their traditional nest sites, remaining here until September and October before migrating south.

What they eat

Insects

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-510,000 pairs--

Distribution

Key

Audio

Patrik Aberg, Xeno-canto